Pikitup strike: Samwu members refuse to work

Workers are demanding a R10,000 salary for lowest paid workers before they return to their posts.

FILE: Rubbish strewn on the streets of Johannesburg. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Pikitup workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) say they can't return to work now because they have already sacrificed too much to ensure their demands are met.

The City of Johannesburg says it's now concerned about health risks, w ith the strike entering its fifth week.

More than 4,000 workers affiliated to the union embarked on an unprotected strike, demanding higher salaries and the removal of Pikitup boss Amanda Nair.

Workers are demanding a R10,000 monthly salary for the lowest paid workers before they return to their posts.

The union's Paul Tlhabang said this will only reverse their efforts and it won't make any sense because workers will have their salaries docked.

"That will be extremely dangerous to do that because we've spent almost five weeks [on strike]. If you go back we understand that for our members their salaries have been docked and they're still going to be docked and the situation is not going to improve."

Last week, Samwu accused management of using delay tactics and sid the City of Johannesburg was not willing to resolve their industrial action.

Samwu's deputy regional chair Vuyani Singonzo said management was extremely arrogant.

"The employer seems to display delaying tactics and putting hurdles on the way to resolve this matter by raising up new issues now and demands that our members must go back to work before they can engage us on our proposal."

But Pikitup spokesperson Jacky Mashapu said it's in fact the union that's taking a hard stance.

"It's a very unfortunate situation, but we're still hopeful that they will reconsider their position and come back to the negotiating table so that we can address this issue of waste not been collected."